But the Lacedaemonians, who make it their first principle of action to serve their country's interest, know not any thing to be just or unjust by any measure but that.
God alone is entirely exempt from all want of human virtues, that which needs least is the most absolute and divine.
The poor go to war, to fight and die for the delights, riches, and superfluities of others.
Distressed valor challenges great respect, even from an enemy.
If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax.
For he who gives no fuel to fire puts it out, and likewise he who does not in the beginning nurse his wrath and does not puff himself up with anger takes precautions against it and destroys it.
Cato requested old men not to add the disgrace of wickedness to old age, which was accompanied with many other evils.
When one is transported by rage, it is best to observe attentively the effects on those who deliver themselves over to the same passion.
Since, during storms, flames leap from the humid vapors and dark clouds emit deafening noises, is it surprising the lightning, when it strikes the ground, gives rise to truffles, which do not resemble plants?
The fact is that men who know nothing of decency in their own lives are only too ready to launch foul slanders against their betters and to offer them up as victims to the evil deity of popular envy.
He who least likes courting favour, ought also least to think of resenting neglect; to feel wounded at being refused a distinction can only arise from an overweening appetite to have it.
Epaminondas is reported wittily to have said of a good man that died about the time of the battle of Leuctra, "How came he to have so much leisure as to die, when there was so much stirring?
It was better to set up a monarchy themselves than to suffer a sedition to continue that must certainly end in one.
Character is simply habit long continued.
Real excellence, indeed, is most recognized when most openly looked into.
Riches for the most part are hurtful to them that possess them.
A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.
When malice is joined to envy, there is given forth poisonous and feculent matter, as ink from the cuttle-fish.
A warrior carries his shield for the sake of the entire line.
Neither blame or praise yourself.
Alcibiades had a very handsome dog, that cost him seven thousand drachmas; and he cut off his tail, "that," said he, "the Athenians may have this story to tell of me, and may concern themselves no further with me."
It is part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risk everything.
Lampis, the sea commander, being asked how he got his wealth, answered, "My greatest estate I gained easily enough, but the smaller slowly and with much labour.
Let a prince be guarded with soldiers, attended by councillors, and shut up in forts; yet if his thoughts disturb him, he is miserable.
The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not to be silent is that they hear nothing.
The pilot cannot mitigate the billows or calm the winds.
It is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur. If the number and variety of subjects to be wrought upon be infinite, it is all the more easy for fortune, with such an abundance of material, to effect this similarity of results. Or if, on the other hand, events are limited to the combinations of some finite number, then of necessity the same must often recur, and in the same sequence.
Where the lion's skin will not reach, you must patch it out with the fox's.
Children ought to be led to honorable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows and ill treatment.
To the Dolphin alone, beyond all other, nature has granted what the best philosophers seek: friendship for no advantage.
The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.
As small letters hurt the sight, so do small matters him that is too much intent upon them; they vex and stir up anger, which begets an evil habit in him in reference to greater affairs.
Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage.
He who reflects on another man's want of breeding, shows he wants it as much himself.
Zeno first started that doctrine, that knavery is the best defence against a knave.
Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them.
Nature and wisdom never are at strife.
The conduct of a wise politician is ever suited to the present posture of affairs. Often by foregoing a part he saves the whole, and by yielding in a small matter secures a greater.
Demaratus, being asked in a troublesome manner by an importunate fellow, Who was the best man in Lacedaemon? answered at last, 'He, Sir, that is the least like you'.
Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.
The state of life is most happy where superfluities are not required and necessities are not wanting.
It is the admirer of himself, and not the admirer of virtue, that thinks himself superior to others.
Cicero called Aristotle a river of flowing gold, and said of Plato's Dialogues, that if Jupiter were to speak, it would be in language like theirs.
In human life there is constant change of fortune; and it is unreasonable to expect an exemption from the common fate. Life itself decays, and all things are daily changing.
Grief is natural; the absence of all feeling is undesirable, but moderation in grief should be observed, as in the face of all good or evil.
In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.
For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.
The process may seem strange and yet it is very true. I did not so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience I had of things.
Wickedness is a wonderfully diligent architect of misery, of shame, accompanied with terror, and commotion, and remorse, and endless perturbation.
Wickedness frames the engines of her own torment. She is a wonderful artisan of a miserable life.
Silence is an answer to a wise man.
There were two brothers called Both and Either; perceiving Either was a good, understanding, busy fellow, and Both a silly fellow and good for little, Philip said, "Either is both, and Both is neither.
A Locanian having plucked all the feathers off from a nightingale and seeing what a little body it had, "surely," quoth he, "thou art all voice and nothing else.
Speech is like cloth of Arras opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as packs.
To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.
If you light upon an impertinent talker, that sticks to you like a bur, to the disappointment of your important occasions, deal freely with him, break off the discourse, and pursue your business.
It's a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.
Foreign lady once remarked to the wife of a Spartan commander that the women of Sparta were the only women in the world who could rule men. "We are the only women who raise men," the Spartan lady replied.
To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.
The belly has no ears.
It is a difficult task, O citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears.
Statesmen are not only liable to give an account of what they say or do in public, but there is a busy inquiry made into their very meals, beds, marriages, and every other sportive or serious action.
Among real friends there is no rivalry or jealousy of one another, but they are satisfied and contented alike whether they are equal or one of them is superior.
I had rather men should ask why my statue is not set up, than why it is.
What most of all enables a man to serve the public is not wealth, but content and independence; which, requiring no superfluity at home, distracts not the mind from the common good.
As bees extract honey from thyme, the strongest and driest of herbs, so sensible men often get advantage and profit from the most awkward circumstances.
The ripeness of adolescence is prodigal in pleasures, skittish, and in need of a bridle.
God is the brave man's hope, and not the coward's excuse.
But a man cannot by writing a bill of divorce to his vice get rid of all trouble at once, and enjoy tranquillity by living apart.
The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.
If Nature be not improved by instruction, it is blind; if instruction be not assisted by Nature, it is maimed; and if exercise fail of the assistance of both, it is imperfect.
Moral habits, induced by public practices, are far quicker in making their way into men's private lives, than the failings and faults of individuals are in infecting the city at large.
There is never the body of a man, how strong and stout soever, if it be troubled and inflamed, but will take more harm and offense by wine being poured into it.
Lysander, when Dionysius sent him two gowns, and bade him choose which he would carry to his daughter, said, "She can choose best," and so took both away with him.
Come back with your shield -- or on it.
A traveller at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedaemonian, "I do not believe you can do as much." "True," said he, "but every goose can.
It is indeed a desirable thing to be well-descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.
I, for my own part, had much rather people should say of me that there neither is nor ever was such a man as Plutarch, than that they should say, "Plutarch is an unsteady, fickle, froward, vindictive, and touchy fellow.
The usual disease of princes, grasping covetousness, had made them suspicious and quarrelsome neighbors.
Another Spartan, when he saw men sitting on stools in a lavatory, declared: "May I never sit where it is impossible for me to get up and offer my seat to an older man.
For water continually dropping will wear hard rocks hollow.
Extraordinary rains pretty generally fall after great battles.
A man must have a less than ordinary share of sense that would furnish such plain and common rooms with silver-footed couches and purple coverlets and gold and silver plate.
A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk's bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare . . . There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.
When Philip had news brought him of divers and eminent successes in one day, "O Fortune!" said he, "for all these so great kindnesses do me some small mischief.
Being summoned by the Athenians out of Sicily to plead for his life, Alcibiades absconded, saying that that criminal was a fool who studied a defence when he might fly for it.
It is wise to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.
When Demosthenes was asked what was the first part of Oratory, he answered, "Action," and which was the second, he replied, "action," and which was the third, he still answered "Action.
Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.
Nothing is cheap which is superfluous, for what one does not need, is dear at a penny.
But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
Politics is not like an ocean voyage or a military campaign... something which leaves off as soon as reached. It is not a public chore to be gotten over with. It is a way of life.
Choose what is best, and habit will make it pleasant and easy.
A prating barber asked Archelaus how he would be trimmed. He answered, "In silence."
Knowledge of divine things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is lost to us by incredulity.
Instead of using medicine, better fast today.
The first evil those who are prone to talk suffer, is that they hear nothing.
The man who is completely wise and virtuous has no need of glory, except so far as it disposes and eases his way to action by the greater trust that it procures him.
Pompey bade Sylla recollect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun.
The future bears down upon each one of us with all the hazards of the unknown. The only way out is through.
There are two sentences inscribed upon the Ancient oracle... "Know thyself" and "Nothing too much"; and upon these all other precepts depend.
Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.
Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.
Music, to create harmony, must investigate discord.
Nor let us part with justice, like a cheap and common thing, for a small and trifling price.
Why does pouring Oil on the Sea make it Clear and Calm? Is it that the winds, slipping the smooth oil, have no force, nor cause any waves?
The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
Themistocles being asked whether he would rather be Achilles or Homer, said, "Which would you rather be, a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors?
Plato used to say to Xenocrates the philosopher, who was rough and morose, "Good Xenocrates, sacrifice to the Graces.
Demosthenes overcame and rendered more distinct his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.
When one told Plistarchus that a notorious railer spoke well of him, "I'll lay my life," said he, "somebody hath told him I am dead, for he can speak well of no man living.'
Grief is like a physical pain which must be allowed to subside somewhat on its own before medical treatment is applied.
We ought to regard books as we do sweetmeats, not wholly to aim at the pleasantest, but chiefly to respect the wholesomest; not forbidding either, but approving the latter most.
Philosophy is the art of living.
The measure of a man's life is the well spending of it, and not the length.
The giving of riches and honors to a wicked man is like giving strong wine to him that hath a fever.
We are more sensible of what is done against custom than against nature.
It is the usual consolation of the envious, if they cannot maintain their superiority, to represent those by whom they are surpassed as inferior to some one else.
Lamentation is the only musician that always, like a screech-owl, alights and sits on the roof of any angry man.
Immoderate grief is selfish, harmful, brings no advantage to either the mourner or the mourned, and dishonors the dead.
For it was not so much that by means of words I came to a complete understanding of things, as that from things I somehow had an experience which enabled me to follow the meaning of words.
A good man will take care of his horses and dogs, not only while they are young, but when old and past service.
Medicine to produce health must examine disease; and music, to create harmony must investigate discord.
The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.
These Macedonians are a rude and clownish people; they call a spade a spade.
The present offers itself to our touch for only an instant of time and then eludes the senses.
It is no disgrace not to be able to do everything; but to undertake, or pretend to do, what you are not made for, is not only shameful, but extremely troublesome and vexatious.
Those who aim at great deeds must also suffer greatly.
If you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind, as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.
Dionysius the Elder, being asked whether he was at leisure, he replied, "God forbid that it should ever befall me!